Update: Ashley Judd has announced via Twitter that she will not run for Senate. “After serious and thorough contemplation, I realize that my responsibilities & energy at this time need to be focused on my family,” she wrote.
A source close to Judd said that Secretary of State Allison Lundergan Grimes’s interest in potential race made the decision not to run easier. “The timing just wasn’t right,” said the source.
Judd’s potential candidacy against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) drew national headlines. While she received encouragement from the likes of Kentucky Rep. John Yarmuth, other Democrats in the state expressed apprehension about her candidacy.Catalina Camia writes at USA Today:
GOP strategist Rob Jesmer looks at states where there will be elections in 2014 and proclaims some optimism the Republican Party can win the Senate majority.Pew reports:
Democrats have to defend 21 Senate seats next year and seven are in red-leaning states won by Republican Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election. Those seven states include South Dakota, where Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson announced his retirement Tuesday.
On the GOP side, there are 14 seats needing protection and only one — held by moderate Republican Susan Collins of Maine — is in a state President Obama won in November.
"Right now, I'd rather be us than them," said Jesmer, a former executive director of the Senate GOP campaign committee.
Barack Obama’s job approval rating has tumbled since shortly after his re-election, as the public’s economic expectations for the coming year have soured. Despite substantial public awareness of recent gains in the stock market and rebounding real-estate values, the percentage saying economic conditions will get worse over the next year has risen to its highest point in nearly eight years.At Fox News, Chris Stirewalt writes that Obama's current trajectory resembles that of his first term, which resulted in the 2010 GOP takeover of the House. He rebounded once he had a GOP foil, winning a modest victory in November 2012.
Obama’s job approval measure has fallen eight points since December, from 55% to 47%. His rating is comparable to George W. Bush’s (45%) at the same point early in his second term and is much lower than Bill Clinton’s 60% rating in February 1997.
The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted March 13-17 among 1,501 adults, finds that despite Obama’s lower job rating, he retains greater public confidence than congressional Republicans in dealing with the budget deficit: 53% express at least a fair amount of confidence in him to handle the budget, compared with 39% who express the same confidence in GOP leaders.
Obama came out swinging, pushing a suite of tax increases and big changes on the top liberal priorities: gun control, gay marriage and global warming. Obama’s new aggressive stance carried over to automatic reductions to automatic increases in federal spending, with the president doing his darndest to punish Republicans for the consequences of the 2011 debt deal he had struck.
Meanwhile, the most consequential but least discussed part of Obama’s December tax deal – an across-the-board increase in federal payroll taxes – kicked in. As households in the median income range saw their take-home pay drop by $40 a week, gas prices shot up by 50 cents.
U.S. personal income dropped 3.6 percent in January, the steepest decline since 2006. At the same time, the cost of a tank of regular unleaded climbed by $10. While this combination was sinking its teeth into the wallets of middle-class Americans, the president was pushing a more liberal agenda and demanding more federal spending despite growing concerns about debt.
Voters, predictably, recoiled.